Men’s hockey coach Harendra Singh shunted out from senior team

Men’s hockey coach Harendra Singh shunted out from senior team

Hockey India on Wednesday officially parted ways with Harendra Singh as the men’s chief coach and recommended him for the junior side instead.“Harendra Singh’s abilities of grooming youngsters has been the key reasons for the think-tank at Hockey India to arrive at this recommendation” was the official communiqué, citing his 2016 Junior World Cup triumph. HI would also be inviting fresh applications for a foreign coach. But the decision has raised more questions with no answers and no one willing to explain.Multiple sources in Hockey India have confirmed that India’s failure to defend its Asian Games title and thereby qualify for the 2020 Olympics played a big role in the decision. The High Performance & Development Committee that decided this, met here on Monday and also made it the key issue. The next junior World Cup would be played in 2021.“It was felt Harendra lacked the experience of coaching at the top level and was too emotional to control the boys or the game on the field. India lost to Malaysia, which was beaten by Japan in the final of the Asiad while we beat Japan 8-0. Not acceptable,” a member of the committee revealed to The Hindu.OutburstHarendra’s outburst against poor umpiring at the World Cup was also a reason. The Indian team also has a lean few months ahead — the Azlan Shah Cup is in April and the Hockey Series Finals, an Olympic qualifier event, in June.But the coach himself is not willing to accept it. “I have neither met HI since the World Cup nor submitted my report. They only spoke to me regarding the rehabilitation of some players recovering from injuries and I advised about the same. It’s surprising that a decision on the coach has been taken without even seeking a review report,” he told The Hindu.This, however, is just part of the puzzle. While a final decision would be taken only by the Sports Authority of India, it is unlikely to go against the federation’s recommendations. Interestingly, it was SAI’s insistence on not inviting fresh applications that led to Harendra being given charge of the women’s team in 2017 when he was a front-runner for the men’s side instead.The Indian men’s team meanwhile would regroup for a camp in Bengaluru from February 14 under High Performance Director David John — who is himself under the scanner —- and Chris Ciriello.Harendra’s tenureDecember 2016: Won the Junior World Cup.May 2017: Replaced as junior men’s coach by Jude Felix. Reason: Declared not available.September 2017: Appointed as national women’s coach, won the Asia Cup and finished fourth at CWG. This followed Sjoerd Marijne’s move from the women’s to men’s team to replace the sacked Roelant Oltmans.May 2018: Appointed as national men’s coach, second at Champions Trophy, third at Asian Games, joint winner at Asian Champions Trophy, sixth at World Cup. Reason: Marijne moved back to women’s team citing poor performance of the men’s side.January 2019: Removed as national men’s coach, recommended for junior men’s team. Reason: Failure to defend Asian Games.

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